NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Churches and religious places of worship are slowly beginning to open up across East Texas.
Fredonia Hill Baptist Church in Nacogdoches had their first in-person service since COVID-19 caused them to close their doors in March.
It looks a lot like many other places that have reopened. Tape spaced out six feet down the sidewalk, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer available for members. And more than six feet between groups inside.
“We took out rows, so this worship center is missing every other row. We talked about our entry and our exit process,” said Kendall McDonald, lead pastor. “We wanted to make sure that anywhere, where typically we have groups that clump together, that those went smoothly. That we didn't have that. So everybody entered through one point.”
They had a team of about 30 ushers who were trained on Wednesday. Those volunteers guided people to the one entrance through the foyer, seated people, and made sure everything was in compliance with the governor’s order.
“I think people understand. I think people understand that it’s going to look a little bit different and our people were so, so gracious in following the different things that we asked,” McDonald said. “Nobody was frustrated and nobody was throwing a fit about having to sit six feet apart or anything like that.”
One member said he thought the morning went smoothly and was happy to be back.
“It’s been a challenge just having to see people on Zoom and on Facebook, and so this was awesome to be back and you can’t shake hands, but to bump elbows, so it’s been good,” said Michael Smith.
McDonald thanked state and local officials for the decisions they’ve been making and said he and other religious leaders recognize it’s been difficult.
“We are so grateful for their leadership. We’re so grateful for the sacrifice of so many different people in our community, from our healthcare workers to grocery clerks and everything in between,” McDonald said. “We’ve just been amazed by this community and by its leadership, and we’re grateful for them.”
The church has a contract with Fredonia Construction Services who had people sanitizing frequently touched surfaces during and after the service.
Beginning tomorrow morning, they will disinfect the entire worship center and be cleaning throughout the week.
WEBXTRA: Fredonia Hill Baptist Church services